Okay, so now your companion has EPI..... and you have been told that every single piece of food needs to be given with enzymes..... What???? No more treats????? Ahhhhhh...... that depends...... here are a few treat suggestions and techniques that have been used successfully by members on the ep4dogs forum.
... and i would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Shirl (Pixie's mom) for taking the time to compile (all in one place) these wonderful treat suggestions!
One question that comes up over and over with newly diagnosed cases of EPI is “What treats can my dog have?” Unfortunately, treats should be eliminated until the dog is stable, meaning good poops consistently for at least 3 months. As impossible as it sounds, especially if you’re training your dog, it can be done, and many of us on the forum have done it. I’m not the first to say that this is usually harder on you than on your dog. The reasoning behind this is that at the beginning of this roller coaster ride, finding what works for your dog is largely a matter of trial and error. If you continue to give treats while changing other things and you don’t have success, you will not really know if the lack of progress is due to not having made the right changes or that the treats aren’t being tolerated. And if it’s not tolerated, it can invite SIBO which we would all like to avoid. The good news is that there are options you can try other than treats for rewards. Some people have found that their dogs are very toy-motivated and are easily rewarded with a favorite toy. Others are motivated by tug games and attention (pets and scratches) from you! Some dogs love ice cubes and those can be used as occasional treats, too.
The even better news for people like me who are better at rewarding with treats than toys, is that once your dog is stable, there are a variety of options for treats you can give your EPI dog. The following is a collection of ideas that I have taken straight from the forum. Some of our members have been very creative in finding what works for their dogs and very generous to share with everyone else…Thank you everyone whose ideas I’ve stolen for this! And I apologize if I’ve missed someone’s great idea…there were just so many posts to look through, I couldn’t read them all. Please feel free to share any other ideas on the forum!
Always remember with EPI dogs that every dog is different. What works for one dog may not work for another. So these are ideas that you can try. Just keep a close eye on how your dog reacts with any of these, and keep trying until you find one that works for your dog. Also, I would recommend starting with just a very few treats at one time. Once you see that your dog can tolerate those few, you can gradually increase the amount you give per day.
Treats for EPI dogs (in no particular order):
A. I’m going to start with what I use, because that’s what I know. I make my own treats with a dehydrator. Some people have used the oven also, but heat kills the enzymes, so the treats must be prepared at less than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Many ovens will not go that low. Olesia posted this information on the forum: I have an Excalibur Dehydrator and they explain that the best way to preserve living enzymes and to overcome any possible spoilage or bacterial growth is to: "set the dehydrator on the highest temperature setting for the first 2-3 hours, then turn it down to less than 120 degrees F or 49 degrees C for the remaining time. During the initial hours the food temperature will not exceed the 118 F or 47 C temps because of the high moisture content in the food " ;).... consequently preserving the enzymes.
The treats I make are based on a recipe Michele posted on the forum a while ago for treats that she makes using a dehydrator. Here is a link, with pictures: http://www.epi4dogs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/4856586
I have adapted this a little for my dogs. You can use whatever meat you like (I use lamb because one of my other dogs can’t have beef and then I can give the same treats to all the dogs). For some reason, though, I had trouble with the strips crumbling. I just couldn't get it right. So now instead of making jerky-like strips, I make little pea-sized dots with a large cake decorating tip. They are the perfect size for a treat during class, and they don't crumble as easily as the strips did. It’s time consuming, but they will last for weeks in the fridge. Here are 2 pictures of before and after dehydrating to show you what I mean.
B. Other dehydrator ideas:
- Make up kibble as if for a meal, then dehydrate at less than 130 degrees.
- Dehydrate small, thin pieces chicken sprinkled with enzymes…slow dry at 105 degrees.
C. Organ meats. Members have used:
- beef heart, diced into little cubes, baked at 250 F, until the little cubes were slightly hard with still sort of a soft center. Turn these cubes over every so often while baking.
- beef liver, beef heart or beef kidney or chicken liver, bake in the oven at about 250 / 300 degrees F. for about 45/+ minutes (or until the meat has a skin on it or somewhat of a crust, but the inside of the meat is still soft) cut into small cubes and give as a reward or treat.
These were used without added enzymes, but please remember that what each dog can tolerate is different. If you try this method, I would recommend beginning with just a very few treats at a time and work the amount up slowly so that you know how many of these treats your dog can tolerate at one time. Also, remember that the dogs typically don’t really care how big the treat is, so the smaller you cut the pieces, the more pieces you can give = more rewards from the same amount of food.
D. Freezer ideas:
- Ice cubes, or ice cubes made from chicken broth.
- Enzymed, incubated food frozen in ice cube trays.
- Grind leftover meat, mix with equal part water - add enzymes and incubate - freeze in ice cube trays.
E. Miscellaneous ideas:
- Freeze dried liver, but not real often...and usually near a meal.
- For training sessions, take something like cooked chicken livers (or something that she can eat that you can mash), add enzymes ...mix well (need a paste consistency) and then put some in a small squeeze bottle. Take bottle with you to training, and when time for a reward just squeeze a little dab in the dog’s mouth as the reward. You could also use their kibble for this. Grind it up in the food processor and add water to make the paste, then add enzymes. This “paste” idea would also be great in a Kong.
- Diced dried apple - it seems to go through completely undigested and retains its shape, so does not seem to have an effect. It does not need refrigeration, does not get too sticky, and is easy to have a baggie full. Go easy on the quantity to start.
Ideas for Chewers:
- Raw meaty bones or marrow bone for the teeth, 2 or 3 times a week, 20 minutes before or after meal time so there are enzymes in the system.
- Some people have found that once their dog was stable, they could give bully sticks right after a meal.
- White, real, boiled bones (can find at PetSmart)..... it is an actual bone, but nothing is on it... no meat, grease or fat, it is not dyed, no coloring, flavoring or anything....simply a bone (heavy BIG bone) that is bleached.....
- Naturally shed deer antlers
- Scrape out some of the marrow in a small bone, mix in enzymes then pop it back it.